To the End of the World and Back

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How is the world going to end? Can anyone predict when it will happen? How bad will things get before Jesus comes back? A day of reckoning is coming, and we are invited to be ready. Have you bowed your heart in repentance and faith before the King of kings? The best source for understanding signs of the end times is the Bible itself. Take a careful look at some of the things Jesus said about His return.


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Billy Graham once preached in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, on the night of a total lunar eclipse. Rather than pointing to the eclipse as a specific sign from the Lord, he used the moon and stars to illustrate the incomprehensible vastness and power of God. Graham has, however, said he believes there are Biblical signs of the end times visible in the world today. We took a trip up in space. Hear the answer in Mr. Dogged by associations with shell companies and criminal dealings, the whole project became toxic, damned by rumours of money-laundering, pyramid schemes and reports that the islands were sinking into the sea.

Lebanon was the only island that opened to the public, and it still struggles on today. The island plays host to champagne-fuelled jamborees by night, as a venue for fashion shows, DJ parties and debauched corporate events. It seems like an appropriate place for a bit of end-of-the-world hedonism, surrounded by a scene of post-apocalyptic desolation. So it comes as some surprise to learn that construction is back under way.

Trucks are trundling from a concrete batching plant on Monaco over towards Sweden, where a series of villas are under construction, designed in collaboration with Bentley Home. On Italy, the Portofino Hotel is rising out of the sand, billed as the first family-oriented five-star hotel in the region.

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Signs of the End of the World? Biblical Wisdom from Billy Graham & Franklin Graham

The ground is being prepared for the arrival of a sprawling Alpine-themed complex on the island of Switzerland, while a speedboat brings a couple of Emirati buyers to view a floating show home, and to marvel at the view from its glazed underwater bedroom. After a decade in limbo, The World is back — with more ambitious plans than ever before.

He is sitting in a white leather armchair in his office at the top of a tower in Dubai, from where he can survey the fronds of the Palm Jumeirah stretching out into the sea below. In the room next door stands an enormous model of his vision for the Heart of Europe , a fantastical concoction of Austrian castles, Swiss chalets and Russian palaces and, oddly, Polynesian huts set across a group of six islands, connected by meandering walkways and baroque bridges. With his heavy Austrian accent, imposing stature and chilly demeanour, Kleindienst has the air of a Bond villain, and I half expect him to unveil a giant laser cannon for making it snow on his desert islands.

He explains how he has been working with scientists at the Fraunhofer Society in Germany to develop outdoor cooling technology using cold water. It has the same energy consumption and uses the same principle as conventional air conditioning, he says, except that the water will fall from a network of pipes in the form of rain. On a plaza in the Swiss-themed resort, the temperature will be cranked down a few notches to make snowflakes, which he says will settle on the ground thanks to cooling pipes buried beneath the surface.

In 1973, an MIT computer predicted when civilization will end

As a former police chief inspector, who set up his property development business in and moved to Dubai in , Kleindienst makes an unlikely saviour of The World. He bought the island of Austria in , before catching the bug and acquiring three more islands, then another three. Owners received access to their patches of sand from the master developer, Nakheel , in September , one month before the full force of the financial crisis hit Dubai.

We saw the chance and stayed. As we walk around the big model, Kleindienst ticks off his countries and attractions, like God inspecting his handiwork on the seventh day. They come complete with infinity pools, private beaches and furniture branded with the winged B of Bentley. But would privacy-seeking princes really want to relax anywhere near hundreds of other people holidaying in an Ibiza-themed resort? We will have a restaurant from every country in Europe, and a different cultural festival each night.

Given the high premium on land, his firm is developing plans for entire floating islands, beginning with Venice. He says they have already established a coral nursery on one of the islands, and plan to cultivate oyster beds too, with pearl-diving added to the list of attractions on offer. Wading through the murky water today, it is hard to believe the Photoshopped visions of people frolicking among shoals of exotic fish in a crystal-clear lagoon, lounging in their underwater lairs or playing in the snow.

Kleindienst says the entire development and its 4, bedrooms will be completed in time for the Dubai Expo in , which seems impossibly tight. For all the hype, industry insiders raise their eyebrows at the idea that The World is back on track. Emirati developer Seven Tides announced in September that it plans to complete a villa resort on one of its 10 islands in the South America cluster by the end of Nothing has materialised.

As if to complete the sense of deja-vu, bringing back a touch of celebrity sparkle, Mean Girls star Lindsay Lohan, who recently relocated to Dubai, has announced that she too is designing her own island on The World. Wading through the murky water today, it is hard to believe the Photoshopped visions of people frolicking among shoals of exotic fish in a crystal-clear lagoon, lounging in their underwater lairs or playing in the snow. Kleindienst says the entire development and its 4, bedrooms will be completed in time for the Dubai Expo in , which seems impossibly tight.

For all the hype, industry insiders raise their eyebrows at the idea that The World is back on track.


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  • Emirati developer Seven Tides announced in September that it plans to complete a villa resort on one of its 10 islands in the South America cluster by the end of Nothing has materialised. As if to complete the sense of deja-vu, bringing back a touch of celebrity sparkle, Mean Girls star Lindsay Lohan, who recently relocated to Dubai, has announced that she too is designing her own island on The World. T hese days there is no sign of The World in the sales office of Nakheel, the government-owned development company that was founded in to head up the offshore projects.

    Crossing a bridge over an azure pond, I arrive at their complex of domed buildings set a in lush tropical garden, to be welcomed into a marketing suite beneath a soaring marquee roof recalling a bedouin tent, where polished steel palm trees tower over a model of the Palm Jumeirah. A vitrine of miniature sports cars stands against one wall of his office, and a signed Lionel Messi football shirt hangs framed on another. So we needed to create more beach. It all began with the Palm Jumeirah , an idea credited to Sheikh Mohammed, who is said to have sketched out the form of the trunk and fronds as the most efficient shape to maximise the amount of beachfront.

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    Each frond would be like a street, with a row of properties on either side, backing on to their own stretch of private beach. The novelty shape and the promise of beachfront homes was a winning formula: the plots sold out in two days. Walking up the hard shoulder of the roaring highway of the Palm today there is no pavement; everyone drives , the feeling is less one of an exclusive private enclave than that of a generic slice of American suburbia. The houses have been packed in cheek by jowl, at three times the original planned density, leaving rows of McMansions looking across at each other between thin strips of stagnant water.

    In the sales brochures and news reports, this new form of Google Earth urbanism was intoxicating, especially given that much of the intended audience would never see it in reality.


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    • Together, they would add more than miles of coastline to the shores of Dubai, and provide an additional 6, hectares of land — an area larger than the whole of Manhattan. In this case, the challenge proved too great. The shape of Jebel Ali was formed, but the project has been on hold ever since.

      Caught up in a frenzy of shape-making, before the palms hit the buffers, The World was the obvious next step.

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      On the corridor outside his office hangs a satellite view that shows not only The World and the three palms, but a cacophony of other swirly shapes that fill the entire area of sea between the mainland and the existing islands. There are moon-shaped crescents, cosmic starbursts and wiggling worms, arranged in an indiscriminate muddle, as if someone had spilt a bowl of spaghetti shapes across the map. This is The Universe , an aborted plan for an additional 3, hectares of fantasy islands shaped like the Milky Way and the solar system. It was announced in January , just as The World was completed, but was swiftly sucked into the great black hole of the financial crisis, never to be seen again.

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      It even had its own airport, and would have needed 1 or 2 million people to make it successful. Ajamil did manage to bring a little bit of market sense to the madness.

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      Before he got involved, The World had been planned solely with private owners in mind. Imagine Venice on steroids. His team developed a zoning plan, locating the more public, resort-style islands closer to the mainland, while the more exclusive areas for private estates were sited further back towards the Gulf. Antarctica was imagined as a big commercial hub, with rows of seven-storey hotels and a mile-long beach facing Dubai , creating a wall of development that would have essentially blocked the sought-after view of the mainland from the private islands behind.

      Ajamil says sales really took off when they demonstrated how owners could re-shape their islands, carving coves, inlets and marinas to create more saleable area.